Saturday, November 28, 2015

Lake Apopka Drive, Part 2

Part 2 starts with me craning out of the driver's window to try and get a shot of a very busy Western Palm Warbler. One out of ten shots coming out is good enough for me.

Western Palm Warbler

Common Gallinules are a lot easier since they tend to cruise and peck.

Common Gallinule

I started down the next stretch when a Bald Eagle flew in and landed on a phone pole. Another photographer was ahead of me so I gave her some space and got the best shot I could before it flew off.

Bald Eagle

We traveled a bit farther down the road and spotted another Bald Eagle on another pole. Suddenly, the male flew in to copulate!

Bald Eagle

Shortly afterward he flew off into the distance while the female remained to preen a bit. I don't see that everyday.

Bald Eagle

I don't often see too many Blue-winged Teal out here so it was a nice surprise to find this pair trying to stay hidden.

Blue-winged Teal

The Snowy Egret, in contrast, was prancing around like crazy.

Snowy Egret

American Coot numbers are on the increase all across the state.

American Coot

OK. I guess I will have to take yet another Great Blue Heron shot since he is just sitting there...

Great Blue Heron

Finally! A Belted Kingfisher that didn't fly away as I got a little closer. Still pretty far out in the marsh but at least it isn't sitting on a wire.

Belted Kingfisher

Across the canal as I made the turn a nice-sized American Alligator was hauled all the way to the top of the berm to catch some sunlight.

American Alligator

Another one down in the water was even bigger.

American Alligator

Hope the Anhinga is paying attention to the gator as much as he was to me.


Not as many Eastern Phoebes around as the last time I was out but a couple posed for me today.

Eastern Phoebe

Third species on a pole today. This time it was a Double-crested Cormorant.

Double-crested Cormorant

While down in the water a very photogenic Pied-billed Grebe glided to a stop just out the window.

Pied-billed Grebe

If I would have been looking the opposite direction I would have missed this bird completely. Fortunately I noticed the Cooper's Hawk shaking while it preened. Thus, that lovely fluffy look.

Cooper's Hawk

I took a bunch more photos until it eventually gained a more refined posture.

Cooper's Hawk

I neared the end of the drive and noticed an American Kestrel flitting around ahead. Kestrels are even more skittish than Kingfisher so I really wasn't expecting a photo. Then it grabbed an insect and circled back to land close to me! I didn't notice until I was editing the pictures at home but I never knew they rested on their tarsus. It would be similar to sitting on your shins.

American Kestrel

Once it finished eating breakfast, it quickly stood in an upright position that we are all use to. Interesting.

American Kestrel

Another fun trip around the top of the lake. Who knows when I will be able to get back out. Maybe New Year's Day. Last year I hiked 14 miles out here, before the drive was open. Don't mind hiking but I think I prefer the car for these longer jaunts. Makes it easier to sneak up on the birds, too.

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